Num­ber of de­men­tia cases soars in Soli­hull

Solihull News - - FAITH MATTERS - AN­NIE GOUK News Re­porter

AN age­ing pop­u­la­tion has seen de­men­tia cases soar across Soli­hull and Birm­ing­ham in the last five years, putting more fi­nan­cial strain on coun­cils.

The lat­est fig­ures from the NHS have re­vealed that 8,675 peo­ple in those ar­eas had a for­mal di­ag­no­sis of de­men­tia in 2017- 18, or nearly one in ev­ery 20 peo­ple over the age of 64.

The fig­ure is up from 8,463 peo­ple the year be­fore, and just 6,452 peo­ple in 2012/ 13 – a rise of 32 per cent in the last five years.

The num­ber of peo­ple known to have de­men­tia has largely been ris­ing year on year, partly due to the fact that the num­ber of pen­sion­ers is also in­creas­ing.

While there were 167,007 peo­ple aged 65 and over liv­ing in Birm­ing­ham and Soli­hull in 201213, by last year there were 175,537. How­ever, that five per cent in­crease is much slower than the rise in de­men­tia cases, and that’s re­flected in an in­crease in the preva­lence of the con­di­tion.

Five years ago, 3.9 per cent of pen­sion­ers in Birm­ing­ham and Soli­hull had a di­ag­no­sis of de­men­tia, while last year that fig­ure had risen to 4.9 per cent.

While this is partly due to a big gov­ern­ment push on di­ag­nos­ing de­men­tia in re­cent years, ex­perts say that it is also linked to the fact that peo­ple are liv­ing longer, and so are more likely to de­velop de­men­tia – and the sit­u­a­tion is only go­ing to get worse in the fu­ture.

Dr Al­i­son Evans, Head of Pol­icy and Im­pact at Alzheimer’s Re­search UK, said: “We know that the num­ber of peo­ple liv­ing with de­men­tia is ris­ing as peo­ple live longer than ever be­fore.

“With more than one mil­lion peo­ple in the UK ex­pected to be liv­ing with the con­di­tion in just three years, de­men­tia is al­ready putting a huge strain on fam­i­lies, car­ers and the NHS.

“With no treat­ments to cure, slow down or pre­vent the dis­eases that cause de­men­tia, we must think about long- term so­lu­tions to this grow­ing health cri­sis.

“Alzheimer’s Re­search UK is call­ing on the gov­ern­ment to triple their re­search spend to help make break­through treat­ments pos­si­ble.”

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